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Loretta Ritte

An activist, mother, hula practitioner, and champion of Hawaiian rights, Loretta Ritte has dedicated her life to Hawaiian land and community. She has protected and nurtured numerous sacred places across Hawaiʻi, standing up for Hawaiian rights to self-determination and the preservation of our natural and cultural resources. Aunty Loretta began her activism with Hui Alaloa on Molokaʻi, standing alongside the community to advocate for Hawaiian access rights. She later became heavily involved with the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana, risking everything to protect the island from the U.S. Navy. Aunty Loretta worked with others in the community to influence the legislature and create a movement that would successfully lead to the end of bombing on Kahoʻolawe. Her dogged-determination and persistence ultimately paid off, and Kahoʻolawe was returned to the Hawaiian people. This victory remains a beacon of hope for indigenous and environmental activists around the world today, and would not have been possible without Aunty Loretta's undying commitment to change. Aunty Loretta has subsequently dedicated her life, alongside her husband Uncle Walter, to the protection and preservation of Hawaiian rights, natural and cultural resources, ʻike, and community. ​

She remains an important stronghold in our community's pursuit for self-determination and her aloha ʻāina activism continues to inspire new generations of Hawaiian leaders. From Molokaʻi, to Kahoʻolawe, to Maunakea, Aunty Loretta continues to show us what kapu aloha and aloha ʻāina truly means. Notably, Aunty Loretta is a featured author in the biographical text, Nā Wāhine Koa: Hawaiian Women for Sovereignty and Demilitarization, which documents the lives and legacy of four wāhine koa (courageous women): Moanike'ala Akaka, Maxine Kahaulelio, Terrilee Keko'olani-Raymond, and Loretta Ritte. The text is edited by Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua, and is available at UH Press :

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